EnCana Corp. is one the biggest shale and tight-gas players in North America. It likes to get in early, keep quiet and let others grab the attention. In the hot, hot Haynesville play in northern Louisiana, it now holds 370,000 net acres. Its joint venture partner, Shell Oil Co., holds another 220,000 acres. EnCana USA president Jeff Wojahn estimates the company's average cost per acre in the play will be between $2,000 and $5,000 per acre--well below the amount other companies have reportedly paid for leases in the past month. An investor at The Oil and Gas Conference hosted by EnerCom Inc. in Denver this week asked Wojahn, "Since you got in early and paid less per acre than others are now paying, why not just flip that acreage and make a quick bundle?" "Yes, we could turn it around quick for a higher cost per acre, but we look at long-term value as well as return," he replied. "Besides, what would we do with the resulting higher tax bill?" Investors and analysts laughed. For much more on shale plays and how they are impacting U.S. A&D activity, attend our 7th annual conference, "A&D Strategies & Opportunities," in Dallas on Sept. 3 and 4. Go to www.HartEnergyConferences.com. --Leslie Haines, Oil and Gas Investor, Editor in chief, lhaines@hartenergy.com